Puerto rico description: The Island of Puerto Rico


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Puerto Rico | History, Geography, & Points Of Interest

flag of Puerto Rico

Audio File:
National anthem of Puerto Rico

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Head Of Government:
Governor: Pedro R. Pierluisi
San Juan
(2022 est.) 3,194,000
Currency Exchange Rate:
1 US dollar equals 0.964 euro
Head Of State:
President of the United States: Joe Biden

See all facts & stats →

Top Questions

What is Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico, officially Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Spanish Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, is the self-governing island commonwealth of the West Indies, associated with the United States. The easternmost island of the Greater Antilles chain, it lies approximately 50 miles (80 km) east of the Dominican Republic, 40 miles (65 km) west of the Virgin Islands, and 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of the U.S. state of Florida.

Should Puerto Rico be granted U.S. statehood?

Whether Puerto Rico should be granted U. S. statehood is widely debated. Some argue that the residents of Puerto Rico (who are American citizens) are treated like second-class people and that denying them statehood is a racist and hypocritical partisan ploy by conservatives to withhold voting rights to about 3.1 million voters. Others argue that Puerto Rico was never intended to be a U.S. state and that granting it statehood is a partisan ploy by liberals to unfairly gain more voters for the passage of legislation that the majority of Americans reject and which can’t win approval under existing laws. For more on the statehood debate, visit ProCon.org.


Read a brief summary of this topic

Puerto Rico, officially Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Spanish Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, self-governing island commonwealth of the West Indies, associated with the United States. The easternmost island of the Greater Antilles chain, it lies approximately 50 miles (80 km) east of the Dominican Republic, 40 miles (65 km) west of the Virgin Islands, and 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of the U. S. state of Florida. It is situated in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, its northern shore facing the Atlantic Ocean. Two small islands off the east coast, Vieques and Culebra, are administratively parts of Puerto Rico, as is Mona Island to the west. Compared with its Greater Antillean neighbours, Puerto Rico is one-fifth as large as the Dominican Republic, one-third the size of Haiti, and slightly smaller than Jamaica. It is roughly rectangular in shape, extending up to 111 miles (179 km) from east to west and 39 miles (63 km) from north to south. The capital is San Juan.

Puerto Ricans, or puertorriqueños, have an intermingled Spanish, U.S., and Afro-Caribbean culture. The island’s social and economic conditions are generally advanced by Latin American standards, partly because of its ties with the United States (including the presence of U.S.-owned manufacturing plants and military bases in the commonwealth). Although that relationship has become politically controversial, the vast majority of Puerto Rican voters have continued to favour permanent union with the United States, with a slightly greater number favouring the current commonwealth relationship rather than statehood. A small but persistent minority has advocated independence.

The land


Puerto Rico is largely composed of mountainous and hilly terrain, with nearly one-fourth of the island covered by steep slopes. The mountains are the easternmost extension of a tightly folded and faulted ridge that extends from the Central American mainland across the northern Caribbean to the Lesser Antilles. Although Puerto Rican relief is relatively low by continental standards, the island sits less than 100 miles (160 km) south of a precipitous depression in Earth’s crust: an extensive submarine feature of the Atlantic known as the Puerto Rico Trench, which descends to more than 5 miles (8 km) below sea level—the Atlantic’s deepest point—at a site northeast of the Dominican Republic. Powerful tectonic forces that over millions of years have created these features still occasionally cause earthquakes in Puerto Rico.

The island’s highest mountain range, the Cordillera Central, trends east-west and exceeds 3,000 feet (900 metres) in many areas; its slopes are somewhat gentle in the north but rise sharply from the south coast to the loftier peaks, topped at about 4,390 feet (1,338 metres) by Cerro de Punta, the highest point on the island. Near the island’s eastern tip, the partly isolated Sierra de Luquillo rises to 3,494 feet (1,065 metres) at El Yunque Peak.

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The northwestern foothills and lowlands are characterized by karst features, including sinkholes (sumideros), caverns, and eroded mogotes, or haystack hills (pepinos). There is a continuous but narrow lowland along the north coast, where most people live, and smaller bands along the south and west coasts that also include densely populated areas. The Caguas Basin, in the Grande de Loíza River valley south of San Juan, is the largest of several basins in the mountains that provide level land for settlements and agriculture. The islands of Mona, Vieques, and Culebra are generally hilly but ringed by narrow coastal plains; Vieques rises to 988 feet (301 metres) at Mount Pirata.

Drainage and soils

None of Puerto Rico’s rivers is large enough for navigation, but several northward-flowing rivers are harnessed for municipal water supplies, irrigation, and hydroelectricity, and along the south coast irrigation is essential for agriculture. Puerto Rico’s precipitation mainly falls on the north-facing mountain slopes, so that most of the permanent rivers flow from the interior to the north and west coasts, including the Grande de Loíza, Grande de Arecibo, and Grande de Añasco rivers—all of which are some 40 miles (65 km) long—and La Plata, which extends 46 miles (75 km). The river courses on the south coast are dry most of the year, carrying water only after rainfall. Pockets of alluvial soils on the south coast are somewhat fertile, but all farmlands there are fertilized. Many formerly cultivated and eroded areas in the mountains have been set aside as forest preserves.

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Puerto Rico has a tropical climate with little seasonal variation, although local conditions vary according to elevation and exposure to rain-bearing winds. Northeast trade winds bring heavy rainfall to the north coast, while the south coast is in a rain shadow. San Juan receives about 60 inches (1,525 mm) of precipitation per year, whereas El Yunque Peak farther east receives 180 inches (4,570 mm), and Ponce on the south coast receives only 36 inches (914 mm). Rain falls each month of the year, but the heaviest precipitation occurs between May and December. The average daily temperature in the lowlands is about 78 °F (26 °C), but relatively high humidity makes daytime temperatures feel warmer. Highland temperatures average a few degrees lower. Hurricanes develop in the region between June and November and occasionally traverse the island, including a storm in 1899 that killed about 3,000 Puerto Ricans; other devastating but less lethal hurricanes occurred in 1928, 1932, 1956, 1989, 1998, and 2017.

Plant and animal life

Plant life is abundant and varied. Tropical rainforests cover parts of the north side of the island, and thorn and scrub vegetation predominates on the drier south side. Most of the island’s original vegetation was removed through centuries of agricultural exploitation, particularly during the first two decades of the 20th century, when farm settlers and plantation workers destroyed large tracts of coastal forest and used the lumber for railroad ties and fuel. Although some woodlands have been replanted since the mid-20th century, introduced varieties of trees, shrubs, and grasses now predominate.

The scarlet- and orange-flowered royal poinciana, or flamboyant (Delonix regia), and the African tulip tree (Spathodea campanulata) are among the flowering trees that dot the mountains with patches of vivid colour against a lush green background. The Caribbean National Forest in the Sierra de Luquillo southeast of San Juan preserves rare species of orchids and the small green Puerto Rican parrot, an endangered species. Puerto Rico has more than 200 species of birds, but land animals are mostly confined to nonpoisonous snakes, lizards, mongooses, and the coquí (Eleutherodactylus portoricensis), a frog whose name is onomatopoeic with its call (“co-kee!”) and which has become a kind of national mascot. Numerous varieties of fish abound in the surrounding waters, but edible and inedible species mingle together, limiting commercial fishing there.

Reviews of living in Puerto Rico

  • From € 121

    Hotel San Jorge

    san juan,
    Puerto Rico

    Average Review Score: 7.4

    • What did you like?

      You need to understand that this is a hotel of the lowest price category. But in this category he is the king! The room is quiet, comfortable, divided into two rooms. The bed is surprisingly decent, very clean. Cleaning every day. The staff is very friendly and always ready to help. There is a decent restaurant in the hotel building, a coffee shop nearby, a supermarket a little further. The nearest beach is 20 minutes walk. We went to different beaches by taxi, a trip of 5-8 dollars. It is more profitable than renting a car, especially since parking near the beaches starts from $20.

    • What didn’t you like?

      The area is so-so, on the way to the supermarket you go through heaps of garbage, a lot of homeless people. It is not possible to drink coffee at the reception.

    Review date: January 18, 2022
    Time of stay: January 2022


  • From € 184

    Casa Wilson Inn

    san juan,
    Puerto Rico

    Average Review Score: 8.9

    • What did you like?

      Very clean, comfortable mattress and pillows, good breakfast, everything is very close on foot, to the beach and restaurants, two pharmacies are nearby (7 minutes at a slow pace). Uber to the old town costs 6 to 9$. Very friendly staff, especially Karla. Recommended
      All was clean, good mattress and pillows, good breakfast, beach and restaurants very close to location. Karla is so nice, she is the best !!! highly recommended!!!!!

    Review date: 6 October 2022
    Length of stay: October 2022


  • From € 234

    TRYP by Wyndham Isla Verde

    san juan,
    Puerto Rico

    Average Review Score: 8.3

    • What did you like?

      is an excellent location if you are looking for a beach and ocean experience. to the beach 2 minutes walk.
      the rooms are typical for such hotels, they provide beach towels, there is a small pool. The hotel is urban, so there is no territory other than a piece with a pool.

    • What didn’t you like?

      Cleaning. It would not be bad to do the cleaning without reminders at least once every two days. in fact, cleaning and change of towels is done only on request. when you come to rest, you don’t really want to run to the reception with towels and ask them to replace them and also ask you to clean the room.

    Review date: 31 August 2022
    Length of stay: August 2022


  • From € 112

    Luxury Apartment San Juan P.R Area Metro

    san juan,
    Puerto Rico

    Average Review Score: 5.5

    • What did you like?

      I do not recommend this facility to anyone. photo is not true.

    • What didn’t you like?

      area and the facility building itself as an abandoned area and a dangerous place. the information provided by booking is not true. I requested a real photo of the object from the owner of the object, but he ignored it. I didn’t even stop by. I came, I saw and I left.

    Review date: 2 November 2022
    Length of stay: November 2022


  • From € 398

    Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

    san juan,
    Puerto Rico

    Average Review Score: 8. 7

    • What did you like?

      location, the presence of a large number of restaurants in the hotel.

    • What didn’t you like?

      attitude of the staff, I was bothered by calls while I was at work meetings online about whether I need cleaning or not. It was extremely uncomfortable. They also asked me to book a table for BREAKFAST! through third party services. They talked about waiting from 40 minutes, if there are free tables in the restaurant from 5 or more.

    Review date: 18 June 2022
    Length of stay: May 2022


  • From € 60

    Natural Village #1,2,3 & 5

    san juan,
    Puerto Rico

    Average Review Score: 8.3

    • What did you like?

      everything is very homely! convenient location! lovely staff

    • What didn’t you like?

      is a bit noisy!

    Review date: 3 July 2022
    Length of stay: June 2022


    • Aguada hotel reviews
    • Aguadilla hotel reviews
    • Bayamón hotel reviews
    • Cabo Rojo hotel reviews
    • Culebra hotel reviews
    • Dorado hotel reviews

    • Fajardo hotel reviews
    • Guanica hotel reviews
    • Isabela hotel reviews
      9 hotel reviews in

    • La Parguera0018
  • From € 182

    Parador Maunacaribe — Maunabo

    Puerto Rico

    Average Review Score: 8. 7

    • What did you like?

      A hole in the mountains. there is nothing around, one shop is miserable and that’s it.

    • What didn’t you like?

      The backwoods is full, you can’t swim in the sea, it’s a cliff right away, and no one pointed out that the first line is

    Review date: May 5, 2022
    Length of stay: May 2022


  • From € 108

    Casa del Caribe Inn

    san juan,
    Puerto Rico

    Average Review Score: 6.4

    • What did you like?

      Home environment, excellent location.

    • What didn’t you like?


    Review date: 4 May 2022
    Length of stay: May 2022


  • From € 136

    Hotel Villa del Sol

    san juan,
    Puerto Rico

    Average Review Score: 8. 6

    • What did you like?

      Location, car rental, transfer.

    • What didn’t you like?

      Noise! The windows in room 205 did not close completely and the noise from the planes and from what was happening on the street constantly woke me up. Also, the staff is not particularly worried if the guests are noisy in the middle of the night, I had to calm them down myself. Accommodation prices are very high.

    Review date: 24 January 2022
    Time of stay: January 2022


  • From € 138

    La Esmeralda PR

    san juan,
    Puerto Rico

    Average Review Score: 9.2

    • What did you like?

      accessibility to everything

    • What didn’t you like?

      not cleaned in room

    Review date: 19 May 2022
    Length of stay: May 2022


Reviews of tourists about the rest in Puerto Rico on Turister.




Material Tape

/ Reviews of tourists about Puerto Rico


San Juan (Puerto Rico)

San Juan — Puerto Rico

In general, there are a lot of San Juans in the world. Especially in Central and Latin America. Wherever you spit, you’ll end up in San Juan.
But this one in Puerto Rico is special. Capital. An entire state of the USA.

18 19
Aramisov November 2013



Puerto Rico — the country of «hacuna matata»

San Juan, Fajardo, Culebra — Puerto Rico

The country has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Warm Caribbean sun. An incredible combination of medieval antiquity and cutting-edge service. Birthplace of Bacardi and Pina Colada. This is Puerto Rico — the island that embodies the dream of a complete vacation….

14 2
olgarojas September 2013



San Juan in 2 days

San Juan — Puerto Rico

In December 2012, my husband and I flew to Puerto Rico on vacation, and from there we took a week-long cruise to the Caribbean Islands.
Puerto Rico is an amazing place! Maybe not as popular among Russian tourists as the Dominican Republic, but it is much safer there….

10 1
marrikka December 2012


photo album

Puerto Rico, San Juan

Puerto Rico

San Juan is the administrative center on the northern coast of the island of Puerto Rico, founded in 1508 by the Spanish conquistador J. Ponce. In 1521 moved to another place and named Puerto Rico (a rich Spanish port). Over time, the Spaniards began to call the entire island of Puerto Rico, and the city …

8 6


photo album


Florida — Puerto Rico, Florida — USA



Monthly reviews







November 1


Popular destinations


San Juan



In this section you will find reviews about holidays in Puerto Rico from users of the Tourister.

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